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U.S. Navy ship fires at small boat, kills one in Persian Gulf

U.S. Navy ship fires at small boat, kills one in Persian Gulf
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Monday, July 16, 2012 - 12:20pm

A U.S. military supply ship fired Monday at a small boat in the Persian Gulf after it came too close, apparently killing one person on board, two U.S. officials said.

The USNS Rappahannock, a fuel resupply ship, fired on what the officials called a "small, white pleasure craft" 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the Dubai port of Jebel Ali.

The small boat appeared to be headed for that port, the officials said, adding that their information was preliminary. The U.S. ship verbally warned the smaller boat when it was 1,200 yards (1,100 meters) away and fired at least one warning shot before the decision was made to fire shots to disable the boat, the officials said.

"In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock ... used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force," the Navy said in a statement.

"The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun."

Officials described the course of events as standard procedures when a small boat gets too close to a U.S. Navy ship.

The officials, who would not be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation, also described the small boat as having made a series of maneuvers, but emphasized they were waiting for more details about what exactly happened.

A United Arab Emirates source said the UAE would follow up after a review.

Jebel Ali is 22 miles (35 kilometers) southwest of Dubai and 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Abu Dhabi. With 67 berths and extensive dry-dock facilities, it is the largest man-made port in the world and the largest port in the Gulf region and in the Middle East.

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